Animal advocates say Utah shelters are filling up with dogs, cats

MURRAY, Utah — Animal shelters across the state are seeing more pets being brought in and they’re staying longer.

The problem seemed to be worse in rural areas.

You never know when that first look is the one that’ll last a lifetime.

“Aww, you’re so cute!” said 12-year-old Aria Davis to a dog looking back at her.

Davis was visiting the Utah Humane Society in Murray with her family to look for another dog.

Even though her dad had always said no.

“I was a paperboy. OK? I was a paperboy. I’m justified,” said her dad with a laugh.

However, when Davis wrote an essay for a school project talking about something she wanted and why, not many dads could say no to her puppy eyes.

“A dog helps with mental health and anxiety and stuff and like depression,” said Davis. “And then I gave my essay to my dad, and he said, ‘Dang, that’s really good, I’ll think about it.’ And then he said yes.”

Right now is a perfect time to adopt because many animal shelters in Utah are packed and the dogs and cats already there are staying longer.

“Part of that might be due to the current economy,” said Guinn Shuster with the Utah Humane Society. “People are having a hard time affording their animals. Or maybe they’re just not looking to get animals like they were during the pandemic.”

In some cases, the pet fees for some apartments have also increased or maybe the landlord no longer allows pets.

If that happens, the Humane Society can write a letter to the landlord explaining that they’re in the process of taking in that animal, it’s just a matter of space, which right now takes a little time.

Whatever the reason, the Utah Humane Society is asking pet owners to not just abandon their pets if a shelter can’t take them.

“Technically, it is illegal to abandon your animal, so we want to remind everybody of that. But we understand people run into hardships and they might have the landlord knocking on their door,” said Shuster.

A couple of weeks ago, the Utah Humane Society visited several shelters throughout the state to pick up animals.

They brought those pets to their Murray shelter, which is a no-kill shelter, to help those smaller shelters make room for more pets.

“Typically in rural areas, or in areas where they don’t have the adopters or the resources and they easily get overburdened with their over pet population problems,” said Shuster.

All those good boys and girls mean Davis can find the one that’s perfect for her.

In a way, saving one dog means room at the shelters for somebody to save another.

“I’m really glad that these dogs get to get adopted or get old and die peacefully instead of if they’ve been here too long,” said Davis.

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